Archive for August 2011

New Fall Wreath!

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Turns out we will have to wait to close on our house as the mortgage company needs more things signed. Enough with the paperwork! We are so cramped in this apartment and we are starting to live like we're on an episode of Hoarders with toys and pool stuff and strollers everywhere. Wanna see the best part?

Yes, I have both Reese's PB Cups and Andes Candies in my fridge

That's right. You can't open the fridge all the way.  Fantastic!  I am only half serious though. I'm grateful to be here near my sister, grateful we found a flexible lease so we can have the freedom to buy the house any time, and it's safe, clean, and the people are friendly.

It is difficult to take decent pictures in the apartment though. The lighting is so so poor and we have few windows. Our front door is dark because it's inside a hallway and it makes wreath picture taking annoying. But alas, I used our little porch door with it's fancy plastic blinds and dirty windows to take these pictures but that's ok. It was the only place I could get some sunlight! 

So here is my new fall wreath!  It's made of corduroy and cotton in the same color, which is actually more teal than it appears. I made a variety of flowers and that's it!  I will post more tutorial type stuff about it tomorrow.

I knowi t's super frayed but I like it like that. Rustic...not perfect.

Flower details

Trying a little lighting technique from

God bless everyone who is effected by Irene. I saw pictures of our old town, a sweet small community, and it's devastated. I am so sad for them. I will keep everyone working on rebuilding in my prayers.


PS..if you visit, post a comment!  I love "meeting" new readers and I also like visiting new blogs! 

UPrinting Giveaway Winner!

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Thanks to all who participated!  The winner is...
Comment #4--STB from Smells Like Popcicles!  I'll email you!  Thanks and congratulations!!

This is an exciting week for us. We should close on our house!  I'm beyond excited.  We've waited so long and now it's all coming true. I hope Irene hasn't delayed things for us but I fear she may have. Our realtor is checking today to find out if there was any flooding in the basement as we know they lost power and no power=no sump pump. YIKES!  But I'm thinking positive!

Busy today enjoying the sunshine and cooler weather. Hope you all are having a beautiful day!  I'll have my new fall wreath ready for tomorrow to show everyone!


Stay Safe and Sending Out Some Gratitude

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We are in hurricane mode here in New Jersey. Irene should be here this weekend and my hope and prayer is that she weakens in her journey.  To everyone who is awaiting her arrival, please be safe and stay in touch with your loved ones.  xoxoxo
On a different note, I wanted to give a huge shout out to some bloggers who have been generous with their supportive comments and responses to my questions, comments etc.  I appreciate every single effort they have made to welcome me into the blogworld!

Do you know Anne?  You can meet her at Hello Newman's! She has beautiful style and she shares the sweetest pictures of her children with us all. She always has a positive comment for my posts and I appreciate it so much!  Look at how pretty her dining room is!

You can meet Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage.  She has one of those blogs you can spend hours and hours reading. Her pictures are beautiful and she has an Etsy shop with some gorgeous wares. She is a blog success story and is free with her tips on blogging, running an Etsy shop, and showcasing projects from others. Plus, when I reached out to her she supported me in several ways when she could have been doing something fabulous like this fireplace she DIY'd.

Cassie is the blogkeeper at Primitive and Proper. How cool is her chalkboard wall?!

She featured my little chair redo on her website and it was my first time being featured on another blog. I was tickled when I saw it!  I don't know if she even knew how happy it made me!  I bet not! : ) 

These are blogs I read every day and each inspire me as I try my hand at this too.  I hope you visit them and visit often! Of course there are others who have reached out to me and I send out a huge THANK YOU to them as well!

Oh and speaking of great blogs, another favorite, 320 Sycamore,  is having a great slipcover giveaway!  Head over!


Wreath-in-Progress/mini tutorial

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Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

So much to say today!  Ellie is officially walking!  YAY!!  She's been practicing a few steps here and there for two weeks now but my girl doesn't like to rush things and was still crawling mostly. Today though she decided she's had enough of the dirty knee thing and is pretty much walking all over our living room.  She's a rock star!!  High kicks, Ellie!

WOO HOO!  I hit 20 followers!  THANK YOU!  I'm having so much fun in this whole blogging thang and I'm so grateful that I have people who support my effort!  You all deserve candy and high fives! 

So, I'm so excited about a new project I am working on. It seems to be meant to be as it's coming out just as I had envisioned. I found this beautiful blue/teal cotton fabric for $3 in the remnant bin at Joanne's. I snapped it up for the color not really knowing what I'd do with it. After I made this ruffled wreath for my sister I decided to make one for myself so I'd have something pretty to hang on our front door when we move into our new house.

So I started on the ruffles and, not having a sewing machine, I used the old fashioned baste stitch method. Here are the steps for my stitch challenged friends.

Step one:
Lay your fabric out and measure/cut long strips. The length doesn't matter so much but make it the width you want your ruffles to be. If you intend to hem the edge to make it look neat and tailored, leave a small allowance of fabric so you can do that. I do not do that. ever. I like the unfinished look for this wreath but do what you will.

Step two:
Thread your needle. In your world your thread would match the fabric but I chose white because it's what I had around I wanted you to be able to see the stitches against the fabric.  Knot your thread and start sewing in long baste stitches. Keep the stitches close to one side.

Stitch the entire length of your fabric strip and then pull the fabric along the thread so it bunches, gathers, and ruffles.

Step three:
Decide how bunched you want your ruffles and adjust it accordingly. I prefer loose ruffles for these wreaths instead of very tight and uniform ruffles but that's just my preference.

Done! I didn't stress about stitching in the straightest line in the world for this project. You won't see that part since the ruffles overlap.

So  you'll notice that the fabric I ruffled in these pictures is actually teal corduroy. Well since I had remnant fabric to begin with  I found myself short on ruffles to fill the whole wreath. And since it was remnant there really wasn't any more for me to buy and the whole point was to be thrifty anyway. So I left the ruffles in the bag in the bottom of my closet, I mean craft room. Then yesterday I found the EXACT SAME COLOR fabric in the bin but in corduroy and I snatched it right up!  Yay for a new fall wreath!  I got busy doing some flowers in the corduroy with some coordinating fabrics to embellish it, started ruffling the cord, and started gluing it on my wreath. I love that my new fall wreath will be fallish and festive but not typical colors (which I do love too). I can't wait to show you the finished product!! Stay tuned!

Here are some projects from other bloggers I thought were awesome:

How cute is this castle playhouse at Tidbits of My Crafty Side?!  It's every little girl's dream! And it is stocked with princess clothes and a little bed for any sleeping beauties that may happen by!  Swoon!

I fell in love with this hat over at Dear Lillie. Isn't it amazing? Jennifer's photography is so gorgeous too.  I wish my girls would let me put hats on them. They won't but I entered the giveaway for it anyway! 

Now CALLING ALL REAL SEWERS--I am buying a sewing machine. I've been waiting and now is the time but I am torn between the beginner machine made by Brother or the beginner one made by Singer. If anyone has any experience with these machines I'd love some advice!  I would be doing mostly basic stitching and I'm a very very beginner sewer. Thank you!!


My First Giveaway!!!

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Are you a small business owner?
Do you have a blog you would like to promote?
Are you thinking about selling your craft, service, or handiwork?
Want to encourage more sales at your Etsy store? 

Then you need brochures and not just need ones that show you take your business/blog seriously!  Luckily,, an online printing company is giving away a 50 Piece Printing Package Prize for 1 winner!  Check out their variety of offer brochure printing and see how easy it is to create professional marketing materials!

I'm so excited to present this giveaway because not only does offer brochure printing but they really cover all your printing needs to help grow your business!  They have so much to offer such as business cards, invitations, postcards...really too much to list!

One winner will receive a prize that contains the following:

50 Pcs Brochure Printing
8.5" x 11"
100 lb Paper Gloss
With folding (Half Fold, Trifold/Letterfold, Z-Fold, Roll Fold, Accordion Fold)
Outside and Inside Printing
2 Business Days Turnaround
*Free Shipping!

To enter do one  or all of the following (you can have up to 4 entries!) and leave a comment letting me know for each:

1. Leave a comment here

2. Become a Follower of Days of Chalk and Chocolate

Sorry but this  giveaway is open to *US residents 18 years old and above only
You are ineligible to participate if you have won the same print giveaway from in the past six months.

A winner will be chosen by and announed on August 29th.  GOOD LUCK!

This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting and I will receive brochure printing services for hosting. Visit for more information about brochure printing services and available brochure templates.

I just entered a great giveaway too!  It's at  and after you enter my giveaway head over there and enter that one too! : )

The Kissing Hand

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I spent some time teaching Kindergarten and I absolutely adored it. As a teacher, you can be so creative and do fun things in the name of learning. To teach my children how to get to the various places in the school we went went on a pirate treasure hunt with a map and hats (Just try doing that with 8th graders..nope, not gonna happen!). We did jumping jacks while reciting the vowels to get the ants out of the pants, and we made trees out of paper bags. Glorious fun for me! But there is another side to the whole K equation and that would be those little hearts beating a million miles a minute inside those nervous little sweethearts dressed in their bright white new sneakers and holding their new Hello Kitty backpacks. Those little ones that we think are so grown up because they are entering "big kid school" but in essence are still so very much babies.

It is my tradition to read the book,The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn , to my students on the first day of school. If you aren't familiar with the book, it is a sweet story about Chester, a nervous raccoon starting off on his first day of school. His mother kisses his hand and reminds him to use that kiss when he needs her, misses her, needs reassurance. So he clutches the kiss in his hand and, well, you should go to the library and read it to your wee one. Then kiss his or her hand and fold that hand up and remind him or her that you are never far away.

After we read the book we'd make hand prints and glue pretty red hearts in the middle and send it home as a keepsake for the first day of school. But the real magic happened after.

In preparation for the school year,  I picked up a raccoon Webkinz at a garage sale and named him Chester.  I wanted him to be a part of the class for the year as a reassuring friend to the children. But kids are so sophisticated now and I was nervous on that first day to bring him out.  Would they snicker? Would they understand?  But as we were lining up to leave for the day I pretended I heard something in my bookcase. I felt like a kook looking for this stuffed raccoon and I could see some of the kids were confused but I kept up the charade.  I brought him out and let him whisper in my ear. "Oh Chester!  I'm sorry you missed it all!" I gushed and then explained to the children that raccoons are nocturnal so Chester had slept the whole day we were in school. I  asked the children to tell Chester about all the fun they'd had in K that day, all the things they learned, all the new friends they met. I was met with 15 blank stares. "UH-OH!" I thought, "They think I'm a nut with a Webkinz. They are going to go home and tell their parents that their teacher is off her rocker!" The next thing I knew, though,  I was being mauled by 15 five year olds yelling "CHESTER! WE READ BOOKS! WE ATE GRAHAM CRACKERS! WE MADE SCIENCE JOURNALS!" and on and on. They loved Chester and he became a permanent fixture in our class. They talked to him about the good and the bad, the happy and sad, the excitements and the disappointments.  He became a real friend.

The second half of the year they wanted to bring Chester home on the weekends to meet their families and so I made it part of our Social Studies curriculum and we used his adventures to learn about our community. Those kids who I thought would be too sophisticated to chat with a stuffed animal would tell us all about his adventures at the diner, going down the slide at the park, visiting a museum, or going to the beach. He was thoroughly washed after each worries!

I know I'm long winded on this post but I feel like in this crazy world where children are expected to do more and be more we must remember that sometimes they just need a Chester to talk to and to laugh with, to be children and to feel reassured. And a kiss in their hands from their mommies doesn't hurt either.

Good luck and best wishes to everyone for a happy, safe, and lovely school year!


Doin' the Can-Can

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Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Moms of girls, come here, we need to talk. I love being a mom to girls (can we all give a WOOT WOOT for patent leather mary janes and prom gowns?) but there comes a time in every girl mom's life when she looks at the drawer/box/bin/floor and wonders "How do I do this? How do I possibly organize all this hair stuff?"  You know what I'm talking about...the ribbon roses you made to match that dress, the headband you bought off of Etsy, the teeny tiny clips that hold wispy baby hair,  the brushes, combs, whatnots and whathaveyous. It got to me and I'm really not a neatnick type.  I was ready to give Molly and Ellie some Sinead O'Connor cuts from the 90s.  Luckily for me (and them) I found a solution! 

I took the spray painted cans I used as flower vases at Ellie's birthday party....

How sweet!  They looked so pretty with the blue vintage mason jars and the satin ribbons. My mom knew right away they were from cans of tomatoes from making red sauce. The same mom always smelled like garlic going to Mass on Sunday from making sauce early in the morning. awwwww.

and I washed them really well and turned them into this...

The clippy ones go around the edge, the handbands hang over, and the small ponytail holders, clips, combs, and brushes go in the middle.  It is working out really well so far except we need a bigger can. I need one of those old Hawaiian Punch cans from the 70s and 80s. You know the ones that your mom had to punch with the can punch on both sides to pour?  Yeah, that would work the best because it's taller.

You are thinking one of the following right now:
a) Brilliant!!!  Jenny is really quite innovative. Ahead of her time, I say...ahead of her time
b) She just posted 4 pictures of a can she painted. 4. pictures.
c) I'm the mom of boys. Will it hold Thomas trains? Hmmmmm.
d) She needs to get that house and a job and fast

Don't post your answer in you comment, thanks!   I like to think it's option a.


Life's a Beach!

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We're still on vacation but we have changed our beach and we are now in Ocean City, MD. We had a fantastic time in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina though and we were all sad to leave. My sister's family owns two timeshares on the beach and she generously gave one to my family to use.  We were steps from the beach and we could hear the ocean waves as we fell asleep each night. HEAVEN!  She has three beautiful, energetic boys and Molly and Ellie had so much fun running around with their cousins. My mom and dad stayed for a few days too. I realized it had been way too long since I'd had a vacation with my parents and it felt so good to do it now. My kids adore my parents and they really enjoyed spending so much time with them...especially since we all live so far away from each other.  sniff sniff.

Here are a few highlights and I started fooling around with a free photo editing software site called Picnik. It was so easy and fun to use!  Maybe I won't get so annoyed at my point-n-shoot pics if I get practiced at the fanciness available on the site!

I miss it already!

Cousins playing

A rare picture:  Ellie actually looking at the camera

Watching the divers feed the sharks at the aqaurium

Playing with sand and shells (that happens to be Molly's flip flop she's dumping it into)

A seat for you and a seat for me

Beach hair!

I will not smile.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

Building sand blobs castles

I hope your summer vacation was as memorable as ours has been!  And we still have 3 more days..yippee!!


Free Chair Makeover

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I'm enjoying my vacation, thanks!  My 7 year old nephew beat me in miniature golf but that's cool, that's cool.   So I could share a bunch of pictures showing us all having so much fun but that would mean I would have to go get my camera, take that card out of it, put it in the computer, and do stuff. All that work sounds very unvacationlike so instead I am showing something I did a long time ago but that I'm proud of none-the-less.  And the best part is that the pictures are already uploaded so no work needed to be done to make this post.

 I received two chairs from a teacher friend of mine who was cleaning out her attic. They were the first things she'd purchased as a young bride and now, 40 years later, she was giving them to me.  We had just bought our first house and were too poor to buy anything really nice. We were so grateful!  Ok, I was so grateful. Jim wondered what they were doing in his new house.  He came to my side later. But first...

They were two chairs that looked like this:

Um...great! Thanks. I think.  What do I do with them?  I knew they were sturdy and I liked the details on the side and the caning on the backs. Hmmmm, thinking, thinking.  I know what the DIY bloggers are thinking looking at that picture. You're all thinking "Why was this so hard for her? Why didn't she just spray them heirloom white and recover them in a bold fabric? Duh. She's a teacher?"  Well guess what! 


and again

Later I added cream colored satin pleated pillows for the back but never did take that picture.  Maybe when my vacation is over and I'm back to doing things like standing up in a nonbeach place.

 Hope you are all having a beautiful start to the week!


Vacation's All I Ever Wanted

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Vacation...happy to get away!  The Go-Gos knew what they were talking about.  Off to the beaches of North Carolina with my sister's family and my parents and then to Maryland to visit my father-in-law in Ocean City!  Not sure what our internet access will be and our phones are (whispering) not smart at all, if you know what I mean.  So my floundering teeny little blog will have to wait.

See you next week!

My New Blog Crush-Everyday Art

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Isn't the Internet wonderful?  Can you believe that some of us grew up not checking email every day or updating our status or reading blogs?  Thank goodness that's all changed now and we can wile away the hours reading about all the creative, inspirational women out there who are doing great things and sharing it all with us on their blogs. Lucky lucky rubber ducky, as Molly would say!  Recently I stumbled upon a blog and I'm so glad I did. It is beautiful and interesting and has a really cool name, Everyday Art!  The photography is bright and pretty...these are the kind of pictures I wish I could take and the bloggers, Jaime and Emily, have tons of wonderful recipes, decorating ideas, party ideas, etc.  Really too much to list!  Here are some of my favorites:

Wouldn't Ellie look darling in those?  If I make them green can I call them Key Lime Pie baby shoes?  Brown and call them Chocolate Mousse baby shoes? Do I just want to put dessert on her feet? Maybe...but these shoes are cuter than a puppy and a kitten sharing a cookie while holding hands.

Ok, after her dessert feet I'm going to make Ellie wear these puppy ears.

Wow. That's all I can say. Ummmm, my tissue paper pom poms seem especially lame now. Moving on.

These are so sweet they look like gumdrops.  What a great gift for a preschool or kindergarten teacher, don't you think?  I would love to have these for my students to play with on cookie sheets for an activity when they have free time!  Perfection!

Visit Jaime and Emily's blog!  See you there!


Linens, Ruffles, and Flowers...Oh MY!

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I don't have a lot of space right now to get my craft on or to decorate. We aren't really decorating our apartment because we are hoping to be out of it and in our house soon. So I have to settle for decorating someone else's house and luckily my sister is a willing victim participant. I fell in love with this wreath at  and decided I would try my hand. I actually combined two of Emily's tutorials. I used the wreath for my wreath but I used her flower tutorial here  for the decoration.  Isn't she wonderful?  I just love her style!  I wish I could invite her over for coffee when I buy my new house and secretly find out what she would do to make it look stylish. Or not so secretly. Maybe I'd just come out and ask her in between cookies and Andes candies.

So this is what I came up with: 

I used remnant fabric for the flowers so I think I paid under $2 a yard for the polyester satin. I bought the beads from the clearance bin for under $0.50. The fabric is linen for that lovely unfinished look and wasn't on sale but I only needed about a yard and a half. I stitched the ruffles on the sewing machine but you can easily just baste stitch them by hand and pull them into a ruffle. It wouldn't take that much time and effort.  Then it was just wrap and hot glue and wrap and hot glue....

And yes, I glued the flowers on the wrong side and yes all the ruffles are going the wrong way. Do as Emily says and not as I do. 



Easy as, um, Pie

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Summer is great and all as evidenced by everyone's idyllic summer pictures. Kids in the pool laughing and not spitting water at each other, picking blueberries in a Norman Rockwell farm, pedicures that look like those moms never walk in the backyard barefoot to grab kids who are peeing in the kiddie pool.  Perfection!  And you know what else summer does right?  Berries. Lots of 'em. We eat them constantly in all variations. So I decided to bake a mixed berry pie so I can enjoy some of that idyllic summer and take a picture of it along with the rest of blogland!  But..I won't lie. We ate all the fresh berries so I used an old bag of frozen ones I had stashed in my freezer. Oh sue me, Summer. Big whoop.   It was deee-lish.  Here is what I did:

I used one of these

And my german mother weeped. She weeped again when I put it in a disposable pie plate (Hey, I live in an apartment the size of your pantry). She stopped weeping when I fluted the edges. Take that! HA!

In a separate bowl I stirred the still-frozen berry mix (approximately 3 cups of fruit) with 3/4 cup of sugar, a squirt of orange juice, and a dash of cinnamon. I poured it into the pie shell and topped it with a crumb topping from Martha. You all know Martha. She needs no last name. Here is the recipe I used: . I protected the sides of the crust with some foil, placed the pie on a cookie sheet for any juice drips, and baked it at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes. I then removed the foil and baked it for about 15 minutes more at a reduced temp of 350 degrees. I made sure it was bubbly in the middle. And here is the finished product!

Don't you wish you had some vanilla ice cream?  Yeah, so did we.

My sister has a killer collection of milk glass. Isn't this dessert set the sweetest? 

The money shot!

 YUM!  What were some of your sweetest summer moments?  Favorite berry recipes? 



E is for Ellie

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My sweet Ellie turned 1 this June and my sister was gracious enough to open her home to all of our friends and family so we could give Ellie a great birthday party. Our little apartment won't accomodate anything more than one of the girls' tea parties and even then, I'm not sure every stuffed animal is really comfortable around the table. And our party budget was the same as the girls' tea party budget as well. So I went off to make some pretty decorations and here is what I came up with:
I decoupaged some scrap fabric on a large cut out "E" that I hand drew on a piece of cardboard (the back of Molly's sketch pad. Sorry took one for the team). It hung on a giant picture window in the dining room that overlooks my sister's awesome backyard. (Look at her blue hydrangea!)

Of course, what party in or out of blogland would be complete without the tissue paper poufs and pom poms? Had to do it. You all know how. Take tissue. Fold. Pouf. Take picture. Blog about pouf. Still cute.

And her little theme was daisies so I made tons of tiny daisy cookies decorated with sparkly sugar and used them to bling up the cupcakes. Very sweet and got that job done in a sparkly way which is super important when you are the mother of girls!

And of course, the birthday girl!

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